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Articulations


An articulation is a symbol written above or below a note or chord which imposes a playing technique.


Accent

An accent indicates to strike a note to make it loud. Accents may be used to produce a irregular rhythmic pattern (metre).

Figure 1: Accents on two notes.


Staccato

A staccato indicates to play a note for roughly half its time value.

Figure 2: Staccatos on two notes.


Tenuto

A tenuto indicates to play a note to its full time value, sometimes even longer.

Figure 3: Tenutos on two notes.


Wedge

A wedge indicates to play a note for a quarter of its time value.

Figure 4: Wedges on two notes.


Marcato

A marcato indicates to strike a note to make it loud, louder than an accent. Marcatissimo is the superlative.

Figure 5: Marcatos on two notes.


Staccatissimo

A staccatissimo has the same application as a wedge.

Figure 6: Staccatissimos on two notes.


Fermata

A fermata indicates to pause on a note and prolong its duration.

Figure 7: Fermatas on two notes.


Short Fermata

A short fermata prolongs the duration of a note or rest for shorter than a regular fermata.

Figure 9: Short fermatas on two notes.


Long Fermata

A long fermata prolongs the duration of a note or rest for longer than a regular fermata.

Figure 8: Long fermatas on two notes.


Open/Harmonic

An open/harmonic has various applications: for string instruments, it indicates that a natural harmonic is played; for brass instruments, the note is played open without lowering any valve or without mute; in organ notation, a pedal-note is played with the heel (when above the note, use right foot; when below the note, use left foot); and in percussion notation, the hi-hat is opened.

Figure 9: Open/harmonics on two notes.


Close/Mute

A close/mute has various functions: for string instruments, it indicates to pluck a note with the fret-hand; for the horn, the note is stopped by placing the stopping-hand into the bell; and in percussion notation, the hi-hat is closed.

Figure 10: Close/mutes on two notes.


Upbow

For string instruments, an upbow indicates to play a note with an upstroke.

Figure 11: Upbows on two notes.


Downbow

For string instruments, a downbow indicates to play a note with a downstroke.

Figure 12: Downbows on two notes.


Arpeggio

For string and keyboard instruments, an arpeggio is to play two or more notes ascending in a rapid succession with each note being sustained.

Figure 13: Arpeggios on two chords.


Arpeggio Up

For string and keyboard instruments, an arpeggio up is to play two or more notes descending in a rapid succession with each note being sustained.

Figure 14: Arpeggio ups on two chords.


Arpeggio Down

An arpeggio down has the same application as an arpeggio.

Figure 15: Arpeggio downs on two chords.


Scoop

For wind instruments, a scoop is a gliss rising to the beginning of a note using the embouchure.

Figure 16: Scoops on two notes.


Fall

For wind instruments, a fall is a gliss falling from the end of a note.

Figure 17: Falls on two notes.


Doit

For wind instruments, a doit is a gliss rising from the end of a note.

Figure 18: Doits on two notes.


Plop

For wind instruments, a plop is a rapid gliss falling to the beginning of a note.

Figure 19: Plops on two notes.


Also see Ornaments | Noteheads.


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